Finding Grace in the Middle of “Life”…

Finding Grace in the Middle of “Life”…

So… we’re settling in for a few days of normalcy and catch-up time on Monday after being away from home…

It had been a great weekend at the Midwest Homeschool Convention – celebrating my new book with a fabulous editor and publisher from Prufrock, meeting two of my favorite blog-friends, and buying all sorts of fun stuff we don’t need for our homeschool. Winking smile

I had so much to do to get ready for 2:1 on Friday {!} between catching the kiddos up on lost school time, meeting a friend for our weekly prayer group, running errands, grocery shopping, and packing. We were working on some Japan studies… when my mom – who we are leaching off of living with for a few months – came into our little makeshift school room to let me know that the freezer appeared to be broken, and that she thought everything was ruined.

After a slight panic attack – Brian and I decided to buy a cow for the first time ever, and we have hundreds of dollars of beef in addition to other meats and produce – I sent the kids to watch a DVD I picked up at the convention for them, and went to survey the damage… my culinary wheels turning.

When I taught full-time, Brian {my sous chef} and I cooked a month’s worth of freezer meals every four weeks. I knew that if the meat was still cold, we could cook it up and freeze the meals, and could minimize the loss.

It seems that lately God has thrown all sorts of challenges in my path… just to see if I can rise up and meet them with grace. Sometimes I do, and feel closer to Him. And other times I fail… miserably. I feel broken and lost, and know that I am not as close to Him as I should be… as I need to be…

The freezer isn’t broken {praise God!} and only the top layer of food was thawed. All but a handful of frozen veggies were able to be incorporated into something yummy. AND I taught myself to use the pressure canner I bought last year and canned some meat for the first time! I’d been wanting to try that in an attempt to save freezer space – well, not necessarily meat alone, but chili or soup – and it worked beautifully!

The kids all rose to the occasion by helping {a little} in the kitchen, and then {a lot} by playing nicely with each other until dinner. My mom {who loathes dishes} worked with me, cleaning each bowl and pan I used, and chopped vegetables and meat when I asked. Brian rushed home and alternated between diligently doing whatever I asked, and playing with the kids. And I cooked… and baked… and prepped… and canned.

There are breakfasts, lunches, and dinners prepared for while I’m gone this weekend, and beyond. In under six hours we now have:

  • 48 pumpkin spice pancakes
  • 36 pumpkin muffins
  • 2 loaves pumpkin bread
  • A crockpot full of overnight pumpkin spice oatmeal {for Tuesday’s breakfast!}
  • 9 pints of canned, cubed beef
  • Beef Stock – lots of it
  • 5 cups cooked, cut beef for soup
  • 5 T-Bone steaks {to grill tomorrow night}
  • 10 cups of chicken salad
  • 6 cups cooked, shredded chicken for tacos, soup, casseroles, or quesadillas
  • 1 yummy meal of creamy chicken-spinach spaghetti & garlic bread to eat with my family tonight.

I’m tired, but thankful…

  • I had all I needed to prepare these meals here in the house… what a blessing to have a full freezer and pantry.
  • True friends understand everything, and mine was no different as she took the call telling her I was standing her up tonight… I am so incredibly blessed to go through life with great friends – new and old.
  • My children showed true character when it counted… I am so proud of my children and their spirits.
  • There were willing hands to jump in without complaining, and do what needed done right away… God does give you what and who you need, when you need them.
  • In the midst of the craziness that tonight became, I took time to sit down and enjoy a home-cooked meal with my family… In the past, I would have continued cooking while they ate – just to get it done – I am constantly praying for grace in this shortcoming. God helped me slow down in the middle of it all and enjoy some peace with those I loved…and we were all better for it.

This challenge was good… very good… and much needed. The message was clear: slow down, provide for your family first, and then think about all those things that you want to get done.

Enjoy your family and friends, and remember that God puts people in your life for a reason… all things happen because you need them to… and God is good. I am thankful ~ and praying ~ for all of you who are reading this. Have a blessed day.